How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

Sixty six million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth. Climate scientists now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid formed high up in the air after the well-known impact of a large asteroid and blocking the sunlight for several years, had a profound influence on life on Earth. Plants died, and death spread through the food web. Previous theories focused on the shorter-lived dust ejected by the impact. The new computer simulations show that the droplets resulted in long-lasting cooling, a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs. An additional kill mechanism might have been a vigorous mixing of the oceans, caused by the surface cooling, severely disturbing marine ecosystems according to Science daily.

Has the mystery of the Earth's core been solved?

It has baffled scientists for decades - exactly what is the mystery 'third element' at the Earth's core?

Now, a team has the answer - and says its silicon according to Daily mail.

Researchers have been searching to solve the mystery at the centre of our planet for decades after discovering there is something other than iron and nickel there

Japanese scientists believe they have established the identity of a 'missing element' within the Earth's core.

Great Barrier Reef almost drowned; climate implications

An analysis of the Great Barrier Reef during a time prior to it becoming the modern shallow reef has found the World Heritage Listed 'wonder' almost drowned because of rapid sea-level rise from melting glaciers and polar ice sheets -- with implications for conservation in an era of climate change according to Science daily.

The international research shows the Great Barrier Reef is resilient, with shallow reef growth recommencing once the rapid sea-level rise stabilised during the Last Interglacial period more than 125,000 years ago.

Mimicking biological movements with soft robots

Designing a soft robot to move organically -- to bend like a finger or twist like a wrist -- has always been a process of trial and error. Now, researchers have developed a method to automatically design soft actuators based on the desired movement according to Science daily.

"Rather than designing these actuators empirically, we wanted a tool where you could plug in a motion and it would tell you how to design the actuator to achieve that motion," said Katia Bertoldi, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor.

Designing a soft robot that can bend like a finger or knee may seem simple but the motion is actually incredibly complex.

"The design is so complicated because one actuator type is not enough to produce complex motions," said Fionnuala Connolly, a graduate student. "You need a sequence of actuator segments, each performing a different motion and you want to actuate them using a single input."

Are bugs giving you the flu?

Almost 1,500 viruses have been found in the bugs and spiders that live in homes and backyards according to Daily mail.

The remarkable number of diseases has been uncovered in insects, spiders and worms - those insects surrounding humans in their day-to-day lives.

The number has baffled researchers who say it's far more than ever thought before.

The study claimed the number of diseases even're-writes the virology textbook'.

In the study found that human diseases like the common flu was derived from those diseases found in insects.

And while the study showed that invertebrates like insects were the 'true hosts for many types of virus' researchers revealed it was not all bad news.

Professor Edward led the project and said although humans were surrounded by the viruses, they did not transfer easily.